Hi Anna, welcome to the new & improved “Veronika Asks”! Would you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Hello! I am the author of THE LUXE, a series about young people living in gilded age Manhattan.
Then, how would you describe your books with three words?
Arch, ardent, absurd.
You’re Aries, aren’t you? They (usually) are famous for being adventurous and quick-witted but also impulsive and impatient. Do you consider yourself a typical Ram or isn’t this about you?
I don’t know if I am typical—I am happiest at home—but I certainly am a red-blooded, passionate and curious person, and I think in some ways I do fit the Aries profile.
Can you tell us more about “The Luxe” series?
It follows five teens embroiled in a very complicated love triangle (or whatever shape applies when there are more than three players involved), all of whom meanwhile have to present a very virtuous, well-behaved face to the world.
Some words about “The Luxe”…
In which we discover that the good girl is not who she seems at all, the bad girl is capable of true evil, and that little sisters have the most fun.
Then comes “Rumors”…
Of cross-country train travel, sugar daddies, rushed weddings and the selling of secrets.
The third novel is called “Envy”…
… so naturally everyone wants what someone else has. Because this is 1900, that includes bejeweled gowns, caddish boys, exquisite Palm Beach hotel rooms, and big fat inheritances.
“Splendor” was out in October ’09. Can you share a few secrets about the final installment of the Luxe series?
All the characters have to reckon with the various lies and betrayals they’ve committed, and most importantly, with their true selves. In the end, I believe every one of these characters gets both what they deserve and what they need.
Why set your story in Manhattan’s Upper-Class society in 1899?
Because I was fascinated by this glittering, ostentatious display of wealth that defined that era, and also because the very strict rules of behavior mean that these young people really have to struggle against something mighty to find out who they are.
Did “Gossip Girl” influence you in writing “The Luxe”? Some readers compare your series to the smash hit and state that “The Luxe” is the 19th century “Gossip Girl”…
I have read a few of the books, and I really enjoyed them—I think it’s a fair way to describe THE LUXE, though I wouldn’t say that GOSSIP GIRL influenced my writing.
Would you like to see “The Luxe” being turned into a TV show? Who would you cast as Elizabeth, Diana, Penelope, Henry, Will, Lina, Claire?
I would love to see my stories acted out by flesh and blood people! But I can’t picture anyone famous playing these characters I’ve pictured in my head so long. For me, they would have to be played by beautiful unknowns.
Are you a Diana or an Elizabeth? A Penelope, maybe? If you had a magic wand, would you trade your life for this of the Holland sisters?
There are parts of me in all my characters, though I would say I am most like Diana. I would never want to live in their world, though. For one thing, it was a period when women’s roles were tragically narrow, and then of course there are all the discomforts of the pre-twentieth century world.
How do you work? What about the most-feared “writer’s block”? Do you have an advice for young authors?
I have really intense deadlines, so I can’t lose days to writer’s block. I just sit down with a good outline and stick to it till I get some sentences. As for young writers—life is long, take your time, and try to be an ambitious reader first.
What about the researches (for the series to be as accurate as possible)?
I do a lot of research—many history books on this era have been published, and those are really fun to read, and I also read old Vogue magazines and etiquette books and newspapers to get a feel for the language and concerns of the time.
How did you get published? Tell us more about your “getting published” quest…
I was a ghostwriter before I began writing my own series, so when I had an idea I already knew the people who ended up being my publishers. Sometimes life works that way.
Imagine you wake up tomorrow not an author anymore. Which job would you pick?
I would like to be a scholar specializing in Henry James. Then I could spend all my days reading Henry James and talking about it with young people.
Is there a book you wish you’d written?
Something with vampires! Just kidding. I have years and years to write the books I wish I’d written, so yes, but I think it will be a long process of figuring out what they are about.
What about the after-Luxe? Can you tell us more about your projects?
Yes, I am writing a new series called BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS. It is set in Gatsby era New York, and it is going to be full of a slightly darker glamour (than the LUXE books).
Finally, the infamous “Nothing-to-do-with-books-question”: you’ve just found $100, how will you use your newly acquired money?
I would go to the Russian and Turkish Baths on East 10th Street in Manhattan, take a long sauna and relax, and then I would walk down the street to my favorite sushi restaurant, and have a decadent meal.
Would you like to add something, Anna?
Thanks so much for having me!
Author & Book: Evelyn Waugh, VILE BODIES
Movie & TV show: Annie Hall, Deadwood
Food: Fried pork dumplings
City: Los Angeles
Music: Etta James
Place to write in: My bed
Quote or Motto: No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky. –E.B. White
“Tea or Coffee?”
Tea or Coffee? Coffee
Saturday night. Disco & Restaurant or Home, Books & DVDs? Home with a book.
Going on holidays. Beach or Mountains? Beach!
Sleepy Little Town or Crazy Megapolis? Can’t I have a little of both?
Pick a DVD: Comedy or Weepy Drama? Comedy
Like To Travel or Hate to Move? Travel
Sport Lover or Couch Potato? I’m more of a yoga girl
Leader or Follower? I spend most of my days alone, so I can’t really say I’m either.
Shy or Easy-going? I am both. In a man, I prefer the latter.
Serious or Funny? Again, I am both, intensely and equally. Also applies to what I enjoy in others.
Thank you, Anna!
You can learn more about Anna Godbersen and her books at http://www.harperteen-theluxe.com